NFL Week 9 Mismatches: Bills Defense Primed To Suffocate Rookie QB

Written By Brett Gibbons on November 3, 2021
Week 9 matchups

When betting the NFL, you can use a mass array of stats, schemes, and projections. Identifying mismatches by using that data is important in selecting bets and finding inequalities in props and more each week. This article lays out a handful of NFL Week 9 matchups that bettors may find useful.

This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list. At TheLines, we encourage bettors to identify their own mismatches using our array of tools. Search for the best prices on weekly player props by using our NFL Player Prop finder (below).

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NFL Week 9 Matchups And Mismatches To Watch

Rams defensive front vs. Titans offensive line

The Tennessee Titans are running low on offensive linemen. Taylor Lewan, while in the lineup, has been injured multiple times this season and back-up tackle Kendall Lamm has a back injury but did return to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Without Derrick Henry to keep opposing defenses honest, game plans can be created to take away the Titans’ pass game.

Do the Titans get a reprieve? Not exactly– they face the No. 1 run defense team per PFF in the Los Angeles Rams; a Rams team that also added All-Pro linebacker Von Miller in a trade this week. Overall, the Titans’ front stacks up well in PFF grades, but they’re simply outmatched this week.

This season, Tennessee is only 18th in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders. PFF ranks the Rams has having the biggest pass rush mismatch this week as well. The Titans are No. 13 in pass block win rate but face a unit that sits No. 4 in pass rush win rate.

Bills defensive scheme vs. Trevor Lawrence

While most mismatches focus on what teams or units deny, this one is more about what the Bills allow.

While the Jaguars‘ coaching staff has taken a lot of heat this season for various reasons, one of the good things they’ve done is adjust how long the football is in Trevor Lawrence’s hands. The first few weeks of the season saw Lawrence throw a league-high seven picks through three weeks. Of those seven interceptions, five of them happened 15+ yards downfield. Instead, Lawrence gets the ball out much quicker– and shorter (visualized here)– than before, leading to just two picks in his last four games.

Why the Buffalo Bills‘ defense has been so effective this season is due to their ability to pressure the quarterback while rushing just four players. They rank just 24th in blitz rate but first in pressure rate so far this season. While much of that can be attributed to their opposition, they get another favorable matchup this week. In Week 5 against the Chiefs, the Bills allowed just one completion beyond 15 yards.

Sinking their secondary and rushing just four players allows for Buffalo to keep everything in front of them, leading to the No. 1 yards per play defense and yards per pass defense. While the Bills offense takes the top off of defenses (they’re fourth in points per play), they force offenses to attempt to throw downfield to keep up the pace.

It’s a frustrating combination of containing opposing offenses as they pour on the points, something similar to Lawrence’s Week 1 and 2 results. This is a prime opportunity to force Lawrence into turning the football over by forcing throws that aren’t there beyond 15 yards. His completion percentage on such throws this year? 38.5% (15/39)– including just six completions in his last three games– and the aforementioned five picks.

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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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